If you are a nursing mom that plans to head back to work after your (all too short) 6-12 week maternity leave (even if you’re only at the office two days a week like myself…) you’re probably thinking “How in the world is this going to work???”
Have no fear! You’re good-hearted mommy endeavors are not in jeapordy! I am positive that I worried about this more than you are currently worrying about it (because I’m crazy, not because I care more than you do). So to put your mind somewhat more at ease, I’m sharing with you a list of supplies to equip yourself with so that you too can — pump like a rock star. Fulfilling your desires to fill your little ones belly with the good stuff, and keeping you sane while doing so.
At first I thought that an electric pump, and it’s price tag (ouch!), were overkill. I registered for a good ol’ manual pump at Buy, Buy Baby and never batted an eye. The first time I tried to use it, I ended up in tears. Granted, I was very much so still on my post par tum hormonal roller coaster ride… but as was confirmed by my pediatrician/lactation consultant a mere week later — a manual pump just ain’t gonna cut it. Especially if I was heading back to work and planning on pumping multiple feedings on daily basis for an extended period of time.
So, we bit the bullet… ponied up the dough and bought me the Medela Pump in Style (Advanced Backpack) on Amazon. I believe the one I’ve linked to above has a few extra accessories (a least that appear in the picture) than the one we purchased. But other than that it’s the same and comes with everything you need to get started.
My verdict one month back to work? An absolute must. I’ve got my pumping sessions down to 16-18 minutes at work (prep and cleaning time included), but there is no way on Earth I could do it that fast with out it!
I was originally on the fence with these, since they seemed to have “fake” and “artificial” written all over them… plus they are not exactly eco-friendly, but really these are great. Originally I thought that I’d wash everything with soap and water like I do when I’m at home, when I pump at work… but very quickly I realized that even that little bit of time eats into my work time. I found these and they are perfect. One wipe cleans everything in one sitting. Plus they are perfect (and really the only option) for when I’ve had to pump while on the road and have no access to soap or water for a while. Not at least rinsing everything after a pumping can get real bad, real fast (i.e., parts get cemented together/impossible to get really clean). (UPDATE: I rarely use these anymore. The only time being if I have to pump on the road. In between pumpings at work I now simply rinse all pump parts with cold water and allow them to air dry. I find it much more appealing from both a health and cost savings perspective. But I still stand by everything else I previously stated!)
This was a splurge — but I now find it ridiculously functional because I can allow myself to continue working while I’m pumping: designing an email campaign, scheduling social media posts, reviewing leads in Salesforce, uploading new graphics to the website, checking email, etc. It also helps you not make a mess while trying to fumble holding both flanges to your boobs as you are reaching to turn the pump off (been there). And if nothing else it frees up your hands so you can at least check Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest while you’re pumping away
These are awesome. They come with special attachments so that you can pump directly into them. Not only are they a time saver from the start, but you have less to clean after your done pumping (as opposed to pumping into bottles first and then transferring into the freezer bags.) These aren’t really necessary unless your are trying to build up stockpile like I am. (Or have an oversupply and find your self pumping extra all the time – with fewer bottles to pump into and freezer space to use!) The freezer bags are great because you can freeze the milk flat — effective for storage with efficient use of freezer space, and great for unthawing milk as well.
This one isn’t useful unless you plan to use the freezer storage bags. But if you do, this is great also! When I read reviews about this, they were pretty mixed about whether or not it is truly functional. I and I don’t know why! I love it. There’s a designated spot for the freezer milk in my freezer, it allows you to easily organize the milk so that the oldest gets used first without any reservation, AND it protects it additionally from freezer burn — which the bags say they do, but… it’s not worth the risk. You worked hard for that milk! (UPDATE: I am now using the lid as a additional storage. I have had no issues with freezer burn so I now have the lid sitting upside down right next to the main container with the bags filed vertically. Since the lid obviously doesn’t have the same slider-thing when I initially put bags in the freezer I lay them flat to freeze. Once frozen I just file them upright into the lid. I will probably be buying another one of these as I have now run out of room in both!)
In case you’re as visual as I am and have a bunch of different people helping feed your little one — this item is wonderful. The labeling lids are perfect for communicating (and remembering) what you’ve pumped and when. The tray is also fantastic at again, creating a designated spot in the fridge for milk, as well as allowing for a “no brainer” approach to storing it. Just put the milk in the “in” side, and take it out from the “out” side. My husband loves it too, because it’s one less thing he has to ask me. And I love it because it’s one less thing I have to think about/remember. Let’s face it… when you’re getting little sleep, baby’s demanding attention, etc. you can be a little preoccupied or otherwise “not all there”.
One of these comes with the Medela Pump n Style, but I went a head and got an extra one for our diaper bag. Not necessary I know, but I like the contoured shape and since it’s obviously unique, it insures that the morning I go to back up some milk before dropping little man at grandma’s or we rush out the door for a rare date night– there will be an ice pack in the fridge to use! Remember… we’re pumping like a rock star here…
I was on the fence with these, much like the wipes. I’m just not the toss n’ go type kind of gal. You’ll find me in the grocery store, reusable bags in tote, I recycle/reuse pretty much anything I can think of, etc… so when I saw these I thought to myself, ” Don’t be lazy, you can just boil everything to sterilize just like your mom, and her mom did before that.”
Haha. Joke was on me. Maybe I use it as my excuse… but they also didn’t try continue working full-time — while caring for an infant at the same time. (yeah, I’m having my challenges…). In any case, I don’t use them every time I sterilize. I mainly use them to sterilize breast pump parts. I sterilize them at least once a day and if I’m at home, after every use. I don’t often use them for bulk sterilizing, just the “I’m -in-a-pinch” cases. A little water, throw in the parts, toss the bag in the microwave, and ta-da — you’re ready to roll. If it comes down to being as eco-friendly as possible and having everything properly sanitized for my little man… I think you know which one I’ll choose. I’m conscientious enough about all my other decisions in life that I think I can allow myself this one convenience. (UPDATE: As with the wipes, I now find myself rarely using these as well. Perhaps I’ve grown more as a mommy than I give myself credit for sometimes, but I’ve learned that boiling a pot of water is just about as fast – if not faster depending on what quantity of parts you are sanitizing – as popping one of these rather expensive bags in the microwave. I still keep just a few on hand for on the road trips… You know, when there isn’t a pot of boiling water anywhere to be found)
Some of these come with the storage milk container set. I loved them so much that I bought more! I now have enough so that all the milk that I send to “grandma’s” for the day have labeling lids, and in addition I have enough so that all the milk that I am pumping for the day can use the lids as well. Again, I feel with all the really important decision making I face on, what I feel like is, a daily basis… these just kind of make grabbing milk for my little guy to guzzle down a no brainer.
And that’s my supply list for “how to pump [breast milk] like a rock star!
What do you think? Anything you would add to this list?